The Master’s Talk: Inn of Madness
Man spends his whole life exploring the so-called wonders of the world in outer things and places, but few ever dream of exploring the Inner depths of this wonderful house in which we live – the physical form. Throughout history, few have solved the mystifying riddle of life.
When regarding the body, what do we see? Do we see but a five to six foot statue of matter? Do we not realise that some Power sustains this human form, and is, in fact, imprisoned within it? Even though the body has nine outlets, yet the prisoner within cannot get out through any of them. Why? Because it is being controlled. Breathing goes on incessantly, and when the breath goes out, it does not stay out; some Power is drawing it back into the body. Sometimes a man is shot – perhaps ten or twenty times – yet he does not die. On the other hand, he might slip when walking and break his neck – what a grand enigma! We have no knowledge of this Power within; we never give a thought to It, or to that Source from which it draws life and sustenance.
Masters have said that those people who do not believe in God, even though they may always be near the holy places, are atheists. However, those who do not know who they truly are, realistically speaking, are more atheistic. Excuse me, but where God is concerned, are we not all atheists? For no one has seen Him. A small child is more conscious of his True Self than an adult, but as he grows he becomes more and more aware of the body. When you ask him who he is, he will open his eyes and mouth wide in an endeavour to express what he truly is; but when fully grown he will tell you, I am Ram Das or I am Ram Singh, for he cannot differentiate between his body and his Real Self.
When you say, ‘This is my body,’ have you ever taken it off as you remove your coat or shoes? We say, ‘This is my body,’ but, in fact, we have become the body. We do not know who ‘I’ is, or who it is that says, ‘This is mine.’ So, it is a more damaging ignorance not to know one’s True Self – that self which must eventually experience the Overself. The self or soul is the conscious entity which enlivens the body and which depends upon something even greater for its existence. As long as it is not conscious of its True Nature, it cannot experience that Greater Nature; so in the true sense there are very few theists in the world, for a theist is one who has realised himself and has realised the Lord also.
Intellectually, the whole world can say,
I am not the mind, I am not the senses, I am not the intellect, I am not the pranas, and so on;
but has anyone ever separated himself from these things? We can take off our coat and hat, but can we step out of the body and see who the indweller is?
Self-realised people say that the greatest book of knowledge is the physical form, through which all written scriptures have come. The explorers of the body, the Rishis, Munis, and Mahatmas, realised the Truth of the mystery and found the Power that controls the human being – and that is one’s True Self. That, in turn, is sustained by the Overself. Scriptures came through such Men Who were in tune from within, Who, by analysing Themselves and rising above body consciousness, got into higher touch and became the mouthpiece of the Greater Power. Whatever They said came direct from that Power; They did not speak at the level of mind or senses, and this is the big difference between words that come from a realised Person and words that come from the intellect, for the intellectual can speak only from that level, whereas the realised Soul speaks as inspired from above.
Those thoughts which come without thinking are always perfect.
A Muslim fakir says,
Actually you are the mother of all books;
and He also says,
When your outer self finds your Real Self, then you will see that something is within you and that God is speaking within you.
Guru Nanak says,
Whatever comes from the Beloved, I give out.
He does not speak from His own thoughts.
I have not spoken of myself; but the Father Which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
When Philip asked to be shown the Father, Christ reminded him,
Have I been so long with you and yet thou hast not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father […] I am in the Father and the Father in me. The words I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.
For example, if one listens to a radio that is tuned in, one hears the sound. From what place does the radio catch the sound? From whatever station it is attuned to.
A God-realised Person is in tune with the Lord, and in Him the Lord speaks:
Brahm speaks through the physical form: If there were no physical form, how would Brahm speak?
That Divine Link is in each human being: not more in one and less in another, but the same in all. However, only Those Who have come into realisation and are the mouthpiece of God can see that
I and my Father are One.
This is because They rose above the mind, senses, and the net of illusion and saw that the Sustainer of all life is the One Lord.
During the life of the Rishi Bhardwaj, a householder by the name of Shonak went to him one day and said,
Maharaj, what is that Thing, knowing which all else is known?
The Rishi looked at him and saw that he was a householder. You should understand that householders are very different today. In those days a man would become a householder after twenty-five years of brahmacharya – chastity in thought, word, and deed –, during which time he gained extensive knowledge of the Vedas and Shastras, the ancient Hindu scriptures. After twenty-five years of leading a householder’s life according to the teachings of the Shastras, he would enter the Vanprastha ashram – secluded life, devoted solely to the realisation of the Lord –, cut off from worldly life and worldly people. You might say that in this day and age the latter phase has become more like a business. A man reads one or two books and then starts giving lectures, but pays little attention to the Inner Self. If a man’s eye is not open, what can he say on the subject?
Kabir Sahib once had a conversation with a learned pundit, and eventually remarked to him,
Oh brother, your mind and my mind can never agree; I say what I see and you say what has been written.
It is entirely different to speak from experience. One can never be fully convinced by reading someone else’s statements, for seeing is believing. God gave equal privileges to all human beings, and the only difference between a Master-Soul and an ordinary man is that one is in tune and the other is not. The embodied soul has got consciousness, for while living in this physical form, yet it is of the same essence as God, Who is All-Consciousness. He is the ocean and we are the drops, but unfortunately we are under the influence of the mind; the mind, in turn, is being dragged by the senses, and the senses are dragged by worldly enjoyments. In this way, the jiva – embodied soul, soul in creation – has become the image of the body and the world, identified so much so with these that it has forgotten its True Identity. For he who has forgotten his own self, the matter of knowing the Lord is very far away.
For this reason nearly all Masters have advised,
Man, know thyself.
Without knowing oneself, this illusion will not go.
And, when does one see what the soul is?
When the senses are stilled, the mind is stilled, and the intellect at rest, then only will one know the soul.
It is for the soul to experience the Lord –
He cannot be known by senses, mind, intellect, or pranas.
It is very clear-cut.
Knowledge is like a child of all books. Love is the mother of all books, for God is Love and the soul, being of the same essence as the Lord, is also Love. But, what do we do with this Love? At the sense-level we scatter it in hundreds and thousands of places.
One heart and millions of desires; on top of that more desires; then where is the place for Him to sit?
If one withdraws from everything else and concentrates in one place, great power with spring forth. If a pipe has ten holes and you close up nine of them, the water will simply gush out of the tenth. Up to now our soul has been under the mind’s control; but by withdrawing from the outer influences and receiving strength, it can gain control of the whole being. Remember that God is All-Attention, and the soul, having the same nature, is also all-attention in miniature. When that All-Attention wished to become from one to many, the whole of creation came into being. The soul also has great power; but under the mind’s influence it has scattered its attention hither and thither, thereby weakening itself. If only it would withdraw from the outer attractions, it could create a town, at least. It is with much sorrow that I say that the soul’s strength has been divided into so many avenues.
So, all True Masters say that realising God is a simple matter –
What is there to realising the Lord? Just uproot the attention from here and plant it there.
It is simply a matter of withdrawing and gathering together the scattered attention. As you know, the rays of the sun under normal conditions will not ignite anything; but if you pass them through a convex lens and thereby concentrate them, anything they settle upon will burst into flames. The whole of this life’s purpose is to become still – to withdraw from outer environments, and to concentrate. You have great strength in you; you are the child of a Lion.
So, when Bhardwaj Rishi answered the householder Shonak’s question, he sought to reply in such a way as to be of help to Shonak in his household duties.
Knowing he was a literate man, the Rishi said,
There are two kinds of teachings. One is called Apara Vidya and the other Para Vidya.
Apara Vidya comes from books, scriptures, etc., and creates some interest in the seeker, which leads to some devotion, too. For this, customs, rites, pilgrimages, saying prayers and singing hymns, giving alms, fasting, performing austerities, etc. will help to create the bhakti – devotion to God. However, this is all preparation of the ground and there is no real satisfaction in it, because it will not give salvation or realisation. All these things come under the category of good actions, and one may gain a heavenly place through them; but again and again the soul will have to return to earth, for they are all at the level of the senses.
These are the first steps to be taken towards the Lord, just as a child goes to school and first learns how to use a pencil; but you can see just how much value these actions hold. You all have taken these steps at some time or other, but now go ahead. Make the best use of the foundation you have built; the foundation alone cannot take you to the Ultimate Goal, without your knowing the self. Brothers, withdraw, become conscious of your self, and get the contact with the Overself.
As Bhardwaj Rishi told Shonak the householder,
When you know yourself, you will know everything.
Now you can see that this teaching is for all True Seekers of God. God made man, but He did not stick any label on him. The purpose of all religions is to realise God and to spend this life’s journey in peace, contentment, and usefulness to each other. These were the True Aims, but what was the outcome?
He started to realise God, but in between the mind turned turtle.
You may ask,
Have we lost ourselves?
Yes, most decidedly, yes.
One Muslim fakir says that the atrocities man has committed against himself could not have been done by even the blindest of all. And, the biggest atrocity? Living in this house, we lost contact with the One Who runs it. The mystery of life must be solved, no matter to which religion a person belongs.
The Masters Who solved this mystery were born into various religions, just as were Those Who contacted Them and Who, in turn, were taught the solution. Ravi Das was a cobbler, Kabir Sahib was a weaver, Tulsi Sahib was a Brahmin.
Man made castes, but God made the soul and embodied it within the human form. First rise above the senses, and then tell what you are and what is your religion. No matter which Master’s hymns you take, the subject will remain the same, even though language and expression may vary. Masters do not consider men from their religious labels, but rather They see everyone as soul in the body, and regard all from the level of soul. They are not Gurus for any particular religion, but are Gurus of mankind.
Satguru is One Who brings all peoples together.
For the Satguru there is no conflict of caste or creed – no thought of breaking old traditions or making new ones. In fact, They do say that there are already more than sufficient religions and sects in existence. Our Hazur would remark that there is no point in digging new wells when there are already more than enough to serve the people. Man must either live up to his religion, or make a new one. Is it not better, then, to remain in your present formation? But, while living according to its aims and precepts, seek for One Who has already solved the mystery of life and Who can help you to fulfil the same. You may find such a Personality in any religion, and you may call Him by any name you wish.
To become proficient in any certain subject, one must go to an expert in that study. If a person has a sincere desire to learn about the soul, he or she should approach a Competent Teacher of Spirituality – One Who has realised Himself and the Overself. This is a matter of common sense and needs no philosophy. All Great Teachers of this subject say that we are all embodied souls, living in the house of the physical form from which we can derive the greatest benefit, if we but make the best use of the situation. The human form is the king of all the species and is the highest rung in the ladder of creation, for in this form God has placed the power of differentiation through which one can define Truth from untruth and so achieve that which can be done in no other form.
There is a prayer in the Ved Bhagwan which says,
Lord, take us from the untruth to the Truth.
But, of course, if a man has no interest in either, what is the use?
Swami Ji Maharaj says,
Hansni (a mythical swan-like bird) separates the milk from the water. You are hansni, oh soul. Hansni is said to have the ability in her beak to separate milk from water, and drinks only the milk. Oh soul, you are like that hansni and you can differentiate the Truth from the untruth. Drink only milk and leave the water. Think of this body as matter; God resides therein, and only He is the Truth.
The body and all things connected are in constant flux, for it is the nature of matter to be ever changing. Only the soul is true, permanent and unchanging; try to recognise the soul.
Atheist or devotee – Manmukh or Gurumukh – what is the difference between them?
To know the atheist – he is lost in the world; to know the devotee – the world is lost in him.
The Manmukh is lost – lost in the whirl of mind and senses. For the True Devotee the world does not really exist, for he has the Lord’s intoxication and is awakened to the Truth within himself, and has thereby forgotten both the world and the after-world.
Great is man. Do not think of him as merely a form – just a five or six foot puppet.
If the gods and goddesses desire to gain salvation, they also must inherit this human form.
The Upanishads say,
Soul is riding in the chariot of the body; intellect is the charioteer, mind is the reins, senses are the horses dragging it into the fields of enjoyments.
So, it means that the sole barrier between us and the Lord is the mind. If we could only cast aside the mind and the senses, we would realise our True Selves and the Lord. If this aim which has been founded in all religions is not achieved, a man’s life is wasted.
When Zoroaster was asked for advice, He said,
Join the Army of God.
When He was asked what qualifications a person required to join this army, He replied,
Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.
This means, live a righteous life in every way, and this has been advised by all Masters.
Of all dharmas, which is supreme? Take the Name of God and live righteously.
In the Sikh religion it is said,
Repeat the Naam and share your food with others.
The teachings are all the same, and we want to enter the Army of God; but we enter only the army of religion. And, the result of this is that men are fighting among themselves.
We put God aside and start saying, ‘I am a Sikh,’ or ‘I am a Muslim,’ and so on.
Kabir Sahib says,
No one is Hindu or Muslim; think of us as One.
God made the human being; and man is older than all philosophies and religions, which were formed long after man’s advent for the noble purpose of realising the soul. If this aim is not achieved, where then is the purpose?
I can only say that if the leaders of the religions were to give the correct teaching, the world would be enjoying peace. Is it not the aim of all religions to pass one’s sojourn of worldly life in peace, to be of helpful use to each other, to realise God? Surely this is the True Aim of all, and if all are devotees of the One God, then why all the conflict and strife? Hundreds of lovers, but one Beloved for all. Customs and religions may be separate, but the aim is the same. But, as things stand, brother is fighting brother, and both declare that their own sect is better. Is it not clear that all are the same?
Do not say that the books are all lies; liar is he who does not absorb.
The Holy Scriptures record the words of realised People Who have walked the Path of Spirituality. However many steps They took along this Path, so accordingly They taught others. We have respect for all.
Just consider how the Masters regard life. They are not bound by any special affiliation, and They are not dictated to by any politics. They are Cosmic Beings.
Peace be unto all the world, under Thy will, oh Lord.
Guru Nanak also said,
Oh Nanak, the Naam is ever-ascending; through Thy will the whole world benefits.
The hearts of the Masters are so abounding, everyone can have a place therein. When They come, They come for the uplift of all people: all sects are Theirs, all religions, all countries.
When I was visiting the West, one place held a meeting for East and West, and I was invited to represent the East. To represent the West they invited a certain Frenchman, but at the last minute he could not attend the meeting; so the organisers said to me,
Well, we will leave both East and West to You.
There is no doubt that the saying is East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, but some man has said that – not God.
The whole creation is the house of the Lord, and there is no East or West in it.
All these countries are but so many rooms in the one house of our Father.
Airplanes have eliminated the vast distances between countries. Today one may be in India and tomorrow in England – and the day after in America. But, man is a man, no matter where he is and regardless of outer garb or custom; all are devotees of the one Lord. When I was asked in America if I had come to found some Ashram, I told them that I had come to uplift the very ashrams that people carry around with them – the physical form.
People have forgotten these things; I have come to awaken them. There is no need for introduction of anything new, for the thing already exists within; but I have come to revive what you have forgotten.
Masters regard situations with a very open outlook, but those whose outlook is confined to their own closed sect do not give the True Teachings.
Just before the partition of India and Pakistan (in 1947) fighting between Hindus and Muslims was going on, and our Hazur went to many such disturbed areas.
People repeatedly told Him,
If only You had come before, there would have been no fighting here.
I am trying to explain very clear and straightforward facts. Because of earning food for the stomach through the name of religion, so much misunderstanding has been born. If four drunkards can sit together and enjoy each other’s company, then why not four devotees from different religions, for the purpose of Love and understanding? It might be said here that the former have some kind of intoxication, but the latter have none.
Kabir Sahib explains it this way:
that a hansni once sat in a field of kodrai – kodrai is a rather inferior grain. The farmer saw the hansni and started to chase him with his stick.
So, Kabir Sahib observes:
This poor ignorant farmer does not know that the hansni never eats grain, but lives on pearls.
So, Masters never come to take from worldly people.